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Does daylight savings affect employee pay?

Employment contract is usually the deciding factor - employers need to be consistent


March 5, 2020
By Kristina Vassilieva

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Photo: nito100/Getty Images

This weekend, clocks will go forward an hour as Daylight Savings begins. While many workers won’t be affected by this change in the early hours of Sunday, March 8, those working overnight shifts and Sunday morning will. As the time change will happen while some workers are on shift, employees and employers may be wondering how this will impact working hours and pay.

When Daylight Savings ends in the fall, employers run the risk of underpaying employees and breaking work time rules as workers end up working an extra hour in their shift. However, when daylight savings begins employees will work one hour less. This raises the question of whether employees still get paid for all their scheduled hours.

Ryan Wozniak, senior vice-president of operations and legal at HR consultancy Peninsula, advises that employees’ pay in this situation will depend upon their employment contract.

“A properly drafted contract will speak to employees’ hours being subject to change due to service needs, and that only hours worked will be considered for payment and overtime”, Wozniak said.

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With this kind of contract, the employer would only be obligated to pay the employee for the hours they have worked. However, workers who are paid a salary will receive their usual pay, regardless of whether they work an hour less or an hour more. Salaried workers are more likely to be required to work extra hours without pay and are also likely to receive full pay if they work less hours because they are paid a set annual wage that doesn’t fluctuate.

“Whatever the employer’s policies are, they must provide employees with their contractual entitlements and be consistent. If the employer wants an employee to work an extra hour to make up for the lost time, this decision should apply to all employees”, Wozniak said.

Employers should also remind employees of the time change so they are not late coming into work Sunday morning.

Kristina Vassilieva is an HR writer for Peninsula. For more information, visit https://www.peninsulagrouplimited.com/ca/